u A b C o m P r e H e N S I V e C A N C e r C e N T e r 7
cancer outcomes and also help prevent and
manage chronic health conditions that follow
cancer treatment, such as heart complications,
diabetes, bone loss and functional improve-
ment. She is conducting a pilot study in
which 12 cancer survivors (four breast cancer
survivors, four prostate cancer survivors and
four children) are paired with master garden-
ers from the Alabama Cooperative Extension
System to grow their own fruits and veg-
“We’re seeing great improvements in func-
tional status—grip strength, mobility, etc.,”
For adults and children, and especially
cancer survivors, Dr. Demark-Wahnefried
recommends the following to help maintain a
• at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous
physical activity every day—more is even
better, since data on some cancers, such as
colorectal cancer, show that an hour per day
may be necessary to reduce risk of recur-
• a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole
• limited consumption of red and processed
meats and alcohol.
She also recommends trying to obtain
nutrients from foods rather than supplements,
which have been linked with higher cancer-
specific and all-cause mortality among cancer
thE fUtURE Of OBEsIty Obesity and the importance of good
nutrition and physical activity will continue
to be a growing area of research, particularly
in the South. This is one reason the Cancer
Center is expanding its efforts in this area.
“With our location in the heart of the
Deep South and the populations we serve,
it makes sense for the Cancer Center to lead
the way in this movement,” Dr. Partridge
The Cancer Center has recently launched
a $5.5-million fundraising campaign, the
Gastrointestinal Oncology Initiative (see
page 17), to expand its research efforts in GI
cancers, including the effects of obesity and
nutrition. Dr. Demark-Wahnefried also has
several grants in this area that she hopes will
be funded either federally or philanthropi-
cally. Either way, research dollars are essen-
tial in addressing this growing epidemic.
“Obesity is such a huge problem here
in Alabama, and if we can intervene to do
something about it, that would be great,”
Dr. Demark-Wahnefried says. “That’s not
going to be easy. I hope we can, though,
because at UAB—and the Cancer Center—
we’re sitting in a place where we can make
the most impact of anyone in the country.
This is a place where we can really make a
Tips for a healthy diet
1. Build a healthy plate. before you eat,
think about what goes on your plate or in
your cup or bowl. Foods like vegetables,
fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products
and lean protein foods contain the nutrients
you need without too many calories.
2. Cut back on foods high in solid fats,
added sugars and salt. many people eat
foods with too much solid fats, added
sugars and salt (sodium). Added sugars and
fats load foods with extra calories you don’t
need. Too much sodium may increase your
3. Eat the right amount of calories for
you. everyone has a personal calorie limit.
Staying within yours can help you get to or
maintain a healthy weight. People who are
successful at managing their weight have
found ways to keep track of how much they
eat in a day, even if they don’t count every
4. Be physically active your way. Pick
activities that you like and start by doing
what you can, at least 10 minutes at a time.
every bit adds up, and the health benefits
increase as you spend more time being
5. Use food labels to help you make better
choices. most packaged foods have a
Nutrition Facts label and an ingredients list.
For a healthier you, use this tool to make
smart food choices quickly and easily.
Obesity is such a huge problem
here in Alabama, and if we can
intervene to do something
about it, that would be great.
At UAB–and the Cancer Center–
we’re sitting in a place where
we can make the most impact
of anyone in the country. This
is a place where we can really
make a difference.
Adapted from the USDA brochure let’s eat for the Health of It, available at www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.